The new prohibition movement

The old prohibition movement sought to ban alcoholic beverages.  The new prohibition movement seeks to ban soft drinks.

New York City is considering banning large portions; Cambridge, Massachusetts, is considering banning soft drinks altogether.  See City Of Cambridge – CITY CLERK OFFICE, CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS.

What about diet soda?  Is it necessary to ban those, even though they do not contribute to obesity and diabetics?  If so, then I’m thinking the health reasons are just a pretext for some other agenda, I guess the impulse to ban things.  But it seems odd that the wave of the moment is to ban soft drinks.

A 12 oz. can of Coke has 140 calories.  A 12 oz. can of Budweiser has 145.  The good stuff has more than that, with Big Sky I.P.A. having 195.

A 5 oz. serving of red wine has 106 calories, which makes it much more fattening, ounce for ounce, than soda.  Distilled liquor has 105 calories per 1.5 oz., far, far more than soda.  So why doesn’t Mayor Bloomberg challenge the consumption of alcohol?  Why doesn’t the city of Cambridge, that ultimate college town, ban beer, wine, and booze if it is so worried about obesity and diabetes?

To be sure, the prohibition of alcohol didn’t work very well.  So why do governments think it will work so much better with soda pop?  (Can’t you just imagine the speakeasies and home-made seltzer operations that would open up, serving primarily 10 year olds?

There are other examples of people straining at gnats while swallowing camels when it comes to health issues.  There are those who would like to hound the tobacco industry out of business who also favor legalizing marijuana.  There are those who demand that their food be free of chemicals while they themselves use recreational drugs.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Orianna Laun

    Actually, many studies are showing now that diet sodas are worse than regular because the artificial sweeteners have no calories so they trick the brain into expecting calories, so one becomes hungrier after consuming them. Dr. Ann de Wees Allen (http://www.anndeweesallen.com/), who has done decades of research in obesity and diabetes and the glycemic index has shown this.
    That said, it is still up to the people to decide to consume or not– it should not be legislated.
    I don’t know if this is the right way of phrasing it, but perhaps legislation should prevent us from harming others or others harming us. We should be expected to be responsible for not harming ourselves.

  • Orianna Laun

    Actually, many studies are showing now that diet sodas are worse than regular because the artificial sweeteners have no calories so they trick the brain into expecting calories, so one becomes hungrier after consuming them. Dr. Ann de Wees Allen (http://www.anndeweesallen.com/), who has done decades of research in obesity and diabetes and the glycemic index has shown this.
    That said, it is still up to the people to decide to consume or not– it should not be legislated.
    I don’t know if this is the right way of phrasing it, but perhaps legislation should prevent us from harming others or others harming us. We should be expected to be responsible for not harming ourselves.

  • Pete

    “I don’t know if this is the right way of phrasing it, but perhaps legislation should prevent us from harming others or others harming us. We should be expected to be responsible for not harming ourselves.”

    Strikes me as a spectacular “way of phrasing it”. More and more an archaic concept.

  • Pete

    “I don’t know if this is the right way of phrasing it, but perhaps legislation should prevent us from harming others or others harming us. We should be expected to be responsible for not harming ourselves.”

    Strikes me as a spectacular “way of phrasing it”. More and more an archaic concept.

  • Kirk

    Anyone want to join my soda and vice running operation in NYC?

  • Kirk

    Anyone want to join my soda and vice running operation in NYC?

  • MarkB

    I have been going to a health group led by a couple of nurses and some of what they say is that like Orianna diet sodas do lead to over eating because of the response she stated. Along with that these nurses have presented information (medical papers by various doctors and researchers) that make the claim that sodas (even those that are diet sodas) are very acidic. This increase in acid contributes to lowering the blood’s PH which is slightly basic. And research done by other scientists show that the lower the PH of the blood the more chance for growth of cancer cells. Now they are not saying that your blood’s PH will drop below 7, but that it will drop marginally to the lower end of the PH band for blood typing.

    Having regurgitated all of that from these nurses, do I believe that the soda’s can contribute to our nation’s problems with obesity? Certainly. Can sodas even the diet ones cause other medical problems. I believe so. However, does this lead me to say that we should make laws restricting the use or consumption of soda’s? No, not in any way. People should be allow to use their discretion. If anything we might want to do more research to find out deffinatively if there is a cause and effect relationship between soda and obesity or soda and other medical problems. If there is a direct connection then people can be made aware the problems and then they can make their own decisions. Let freedom of choice ring out in the decisions about soda.

  • MarkB

    I have been going to a health group led by a couple of nurses and some of what they say is that like Orianna diet sodas do lead to over eating because of the response she stated. Along with that these nurses have presented information (medical papers by various doctors and researchers) that make the claim that sodas (even those that are diet sodas) are very acidic. This increase in acid contributes to lowering the blood’s PH which is slightly basic. And research done by other scientists show that the lower the PH of the blood the more chance for growth of cancer cells. Now they are not saying that your blood’s PH will drop below 7, but that it will drop marginally to the lower end of the PH band for blood typing.

    Having regurgitated all of that from these nurses, do I believe that the soda’s can contribute to our nation’s problems with obesity? Certainly. Can sodas even the diet ones cause other medical problems. I believe so. However, does this lead me to say that we should make laws restricting the use or consumption of soda’s? No, not in any way. People should be allow to use their discretion. If anything we might want to do more research to find out deffinatively if there is a cause and effect relationship between soda and obesity or soda and other medical problems. If there is a direct connection then people can be made aware the problems and then they can make their own decisions. Let freedom of choice ring out in the decisions about soda.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    Can anyone else see future taxation of the soda?

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    Can anyone else see future taxation of the soda?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    It is worth noting that back in the eighties, there was a study (sorry I don’t have the citation) that actually found that those who drank diet soda gained weight faster than those who drank regular, because they viewed diet pop as an excuse to splurge other ways. I don’t know how it’s holding up, though. Maybe the weight gain was just the food necessary to get rid of that “TAB” aftertaste. :^)

    What Bloomberg is actually saying here, though, is that the same perverse motivations which impel a man to cheer for the Mets or Yankees also cause him to totally lose self-control when confronted with a double big gulp. Shouldn’t we have compassion for these poor, benighted people?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    It is worth noting that back in the eighties, there was a study (sorry I don’t have the citation) that actually found that those who drank diet soda gained weight faster than those who drank regular, because they viewed diet pop as an excuse to splurge other ways. I don’t know how it’s holding up, though. Maybe the weight gain was just the food necessary to get rid of that “TAB” aftertaste. :^)

    What Bloomberg is actually saying here, though, is that the same perverse motivations which impel a man to cheer for the Mets or Yankees also cause him to totally lose self-control when confronted with a double big gulp. Shouldn’t we have compassion for these poor, benighted people?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    NB: “banning large portions” (as NYC is considering, sort of) is not the same as “banning soft drinks”. It is regulating soft drink consumption.

    Guess what? Alcohol consumption is also regulated. As a matter of fact, servers are legally obligated to not serve you alcohol if it looks like you’ve had too much already. Nobody seems to think that this status quo is unworkable. Some may think it’s not a good idea, but it’s clearly been working as such for some time now.

    So, first of all, we should distinguish between regulating and banning. Banning doesn’t seem to work well in many contexts. Regulating does. (Again, I’m not, as such, arguing in favor of all regulations. I’m just saying that most people seem to put up with them as prudent or at least tolerably annoying.)

    Now, Veith asked, “What about diet soda?” Well, the Cambridge city council resolution you linked to says

    ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to refer the matter of a ban on soda and sugar-sweetened beverages in restaurants to the Cambridge Public Health Department for a recommendation.

    Which would seem to imply that diet sodas might get a pass, yes.

    A 5 oz. serving of red wine has 106 calories, which makes it much more fattening, ounce for ounce, than soda.

    You know, I’ll take that into consideration the next time I see someone carrying around a 32-oz. (or 64-oz.!!!) cup of wine. Come on. Serving size matters. I’m pretty certain most people could not consume two and a half bottles of wine, but, again, 7-Eleven sells (or at least used to sell, before this NYC thing) 64-oz. cups of soda.

    Why doesn’t the city of Cambridge, that ultimate college town, ban beer, wine, and booze if it is so worried about obesity and diabetes?

    Likely because there are no studies implying a correlation in the recent sharp uptick in obesity with alcohol consumption. Soda consumption appears to correlate much, much better.

    To be sure, the prohibition of alcohol didn’t work very well. So why do governments think it will work so much better with soda pop?

    You do realize you have yet to demonstrate that anyone’s actually considering the prohibition of soda, right? NYC is considering regulating serving sizes. Cambridge appears to be considering banning soda “in restaurants“.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    NB: “banning large portions” (as NYC is considering, sort of) is not the same as “banning soft drinks”. It is regulating soft drink consumption.

    Guess what? Alcohol consumption is also regulated. As a matter of fact, servers are legally obligated to not serve you alcohol if it looks like you’ve had too much already. Nobody seems to think that this status quo is unworkable. Some may think it’s not a good idea, but it’s clearly been working as such for some time now.

    So, first of all, we should distinguish between regulating and banning. Banning doesn’t seem to work well in many contexts. Regulating does. (Again, I’m not, as such, arguing in favor of all regulations. I’m just saying that most people seem to put up with them as prudent or at least tolerably annoying.)

    Now, Veith asked, “What about diet soda?” Well, the Cambridge city council resolution you linked to says

    ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to refer the matter of a ban on soda and sugar-sweetened beverages in restaurants to the Cambridge Public Health Department for a recommendation.

    Which would seem to imply that diet sodas might get a pass, yes.

    A 5 oz. serving of red wine has 106 calories, which makes it much more fattening, ounce for ounce, than soda.

    You know, I’ll take that into consideration the next time I see someone carrying around a 32-oz. (or 64-oz.!!!) cup of wine. Come on. Serving size matters. I’m pretty certain most people could not consume two and a half bottles of wine, but, again, 7-Eleven sells (or at least used to sell, before this NYC thing) 64-oz. cups of soda.

    Why doesn’t the city of Cambridge, that ultimate college town, ban beer, wine, and booze if it is so worried about obesity and diabetes?

    Likely because there are no studies implying a correlation in the recent sharp uptick in obesity with alcohol consumption. Soda consumption appears to correlate much, much better.

    To be sure, the prohibition of alcohol didn’t work very well. So why do governments think it will work so much better with soda pop?

    You do realize you have yet to demonstrate that anyone’s actually considering the prohibition of soda, right? NYC is considering regulating serving sizes. Cambridge appears to be considering banning soda “in restaurants“.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 7: Isn’t the order you quoted from the Cambridge City Council evidence that a governmental body is considering the prohibition of soda, at least in restaurants? They are talking about the consideration of a ban, not the regulation of portion sizes.

    Of course, that’ll simply mean that folks will bring their Big Gulps into the restaurant, which will charge them a “pop-top” fee, or some such nonsense, which is what always happens when the nannies rampage.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 7: Isn’t the order you quoted from the Cambridge City Council evidence that a governmental body is considering the prohibition of soda, at least in restaurants? They are talking about the consideration of a ban, not the regulation of portion sizes.

    Of course, that’ll simply mean that folks will bring their Big Gulps into the restaurant, which will charge them a “pop-top” fee, or some such nonsense, which is what always happens when the nannies rampage.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Why not use education or ad campaigns to persuade people to consume smaller quantities of sodas?

    Is it just that it is cheaper to ban stuff?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Why not use education or ad campaigns to persuade people to consume smaller quantities of sodas?

    Is it just that it is cheaper to ban stuff?

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@7: Your distinction between prohibition and regulation is helpful, but the comparison between alcohol and soda is unsatisfactory. Here’s a claim for you to assess: the motivations behind regulations are a relevant consideration in assessing a) whether they will “work” (i.e., whether they are tenable, and are likely to invoke obedience without oppressive coercion) and b) whether they are legitimate. Thoughts?

    If my claim is correct, I’ll state another claim: regulating the sale and consumption of alcohol is an essential aspect of public safety, mostly because of drunk driving. I don’t know a single person who opposes regulations–strong regulations–that prohibit impaired driving. It presents an extreme danger to the public, and one of the few unquestionably legitimate purposes of civil government is to limit or mitigate public dangers.

    Meanwhile, soda? How is soda a public danger? It’s a private danger in that it makes people fat. But the government doesn’t exist in the United States to ensure that people aren’t fat. At most, there is a burden to public health costs posed by fatties, but the connection of soda to said costs is only indirect at best. If you want to make a plausible case that regulations like these are to save our public health budgets, then you’re going to need to limit a lot more than soda consumption.

    And, speaking of tenability, what’s to prevent someone from simply buying two 16 oz. beverages if they want 32 oz.? I can see the 7-11 ads already.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@7: Your distinction between prohibition and regulation is helpful, but the comparison between alcohol and soda is unsatisfactory. Here’s a claim for you to assess: the motivations behind regulations are a relevant consideration in assessing a) whether they will “work” (i.e., whether they are tenable, and are likely to invoke obedience without oppressive coercion) and b) whether they are legitimate. Thoughts?

    If my claim is correct, I’ll state another claim: regulating the sale and consumption of alcohol is an essential aspect of public safety, mostly because of drunk driving. I don’t know a single person who opposes regulations–strong regulations–that prohibit impaired driving. It presents an extreme danger to the public, and one of the few unquestionably legitimate purposes of civil government is to limit or mitigate public dangers.

    Meanwhile, soda? How is soda a public danger? It’s a private danger in that it makes people fat. But the government doesn’t exist in the United States to ensure that people aren’t fat. At most, there is a burden to public health costs posed by fatties, but the connection of soda to said costs is only indirect at best. If you want to make a plausible case that regulations like these are to save our public health budgets, then you’re going to need to limit a lot more than soda consumption.

    And, speaking of tenability, what’s to prevent someone from simply buying two 16 oz. beverages if they want 32 oz.? I can see the 7-11 ads already.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS asked (@8):

    Isn’t the order you quoted from the Cambridge City Council evidence that a governmental body is considering the prohibition of soda, at least in restaurants?

    Come on, Don. Context! I quoted Veith’s words to which I was replying right there in my comment:

    To be sure, the prohibition of alcohol didn’t work very well. So why do governments think it will work so much better with soda pop?

    Do I have to spell it out? Under Prohibition, alcohol wasn’t merely not available in some locations, it was illegal to sell, manufacture, or transport, across the board!

    So no, prohibiting the sale of soda in restaurants is not equivalent or tantamount to the failed Prohibition of the early 20th Century.

    Because you know what? There are still places today where you can’t buy liquor, or certain kinds of liquor! I grew up in a city where restaurants couldn’t serve alcohol unless they were licensed “clubs”. And even now, in liberal Portland, I can’t buy liquor in a grocery store. People have worked and are working to change these laws, but I don’t think anyone’s arguing that they’re utterly failed policies like the complete prohibition of the 1920s was.

    Is anyone here equally outraged at the status quo of alcohol regulation? Where are the conservatives who will rally against Oregon’s nanny state liquor bureaucracy? (They don’t appear to be in Oregon, where the social conservatives tend to enjoy regulating alcohol in the most ridiculous ways.)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS asked (@8):

    Isn’t the order you quoted from the Cambridge City Council evidence that a governmental body is considering the prohibition of soda, at least in restaurants?

    Come on, Don. Context! I quoted Veith’s words to which I was replying right there in my comment:

    To be sure, the prohibition of alcohol didn’t work very well. So why do governments think it will work so much better with soda pop?

    Do I have to spell it out? Under Prohibition, alcohol wasn’t merely not available in some locations, it was illegal to sell, manufacture, or transport, across the board!

    So no, prohibiting the sale of soda in restaurants is not equivalent or tantamount to the failed Prohibition of the early 20th Century.

    Because you know what? There are still places today where you can’t buy liquor, or certain kinds of liquor! I grew up in a city where restaurants couldn’t serve alcohol unless they were licensed “clubs”. And even now, in liberal Portland, I can’t buy liquor in a grocery store. People have worked and are working to change these laws, but I don’t think anyone’s arguing that they’re utterly failed policies like the complete prohibition of the 1920s was.

    Is anyone here equally outraged at the status quo of alcohol regulation? Where are the conservatives who will rally against Oregon’s nanny state liquor bureaucracy? (They don’t appear to be in Oregon, where the social conservatives tend to enjoy regulating alcohol in the most ridiculous ways.)

  • DonS

    tODD @ 11: I’m sure you are playing devil’s advocate here, since I am sure you cannot believe in any way that this ridiculous Bloomdoggle, now being copied by anxious good liberals always looking for an excuse to meddle, is good or appropriate governmental policy. But, I’ll play.

    Cincinnatus addressed the clear public policy distinctions between regulating alcohol and regulating soda @ 10. However, I will state, for the record as a conservative, responsive to your challenge, that the status quo of alcohol regulation, including liquor control boards, state stores, where they exist, liquor licensing laws, and the like, are rife with corruption and political patronage, vastly inefficient and abusive, and entirely ineffective, except to ensure that mother government gets her cut of the loot. Of course, that is the real reason they exist — to raise revenue for the ever hungry government apparatus, which long ago forgot that it exists to serve the citizens.

    The laws should be very simple and straightforward, and addressed to public safety concerns, as Cincinnatus pointed out above. Those who serve alcohol are responsible not to serve it to minors, and not to serve those who have any indication of being impaired, or whom the server knows have already consumed enough to be impaired. That is all the regulation that is required. Restricting who can sell it, or who can serve it, other than zoning regulations intended to keep alcohol serving establishments away from quiet residential areas, does not substantially improve public safety and functions to increase governmental favoritism and abuse.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 11: I’m sure you are playing devil’s advocate here, since I am sure you cannot believe in any way that this ridiculous Bloomdoggle, now being copied by anxious good liberals always looking for an excuse to meddle, is good or appropriate governmental policy. But, I’ll play.

    Cincinnatus addressed the clear public policy distinctions between regulating alcohol and regulating soda @ 10. However, I will state, for the record as a conservative, responsive to your challenge, that the status quo of alcohol regulation, including liquor control boards, state stores, where they exist, liquor licensing laws, and the like, are rife with corruption and political patronage, vastly inefficient and abusive, and entirely ineffective, except to ensure that mother government gets her cut of the loot. Of course, that is the real reason they exist — to raise revenue for the ever hungry government apparatus, which long ago forgot that it exists to serve the citizens.

    The laws should be very simple and straightforward, and addressed to public safety concerns, as Cincinnatus pointed out above. Those who serve alcohol are responsible not to serve it to minors, and not to serve those who have any indication of being impaired, or whom the server knows have already consumed enough to be impaired. That is all the regulation that is required. Restricting who can sell it, or who can serve it, other than zoning regulations intended to keep alcohol serving establishments away from quiet residential areas, does not substantially improve public safety and functions to increase governmental favoritism and abuse.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    If size is limited will a person have to prove he or she is not alone if more than one is bought?

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    If size is limited will a person have to prove he or she is not alone if more than one is bought?

  • DonS

    I just read that Bloomberg is considering banning large pizzas, because people eat too many slices and it’s fattening. You can buy as many personal-sized pizzas as you want, though, so it’s OK.

    Sounds like a really good idea.

  • DonS

    I just read that Bloomberg is considering banning large pizzas, because people eat too many slices and it’s fattening. You can buy as many personal-sized pizzas as you want, though, so it’s OK.

    Sounds like a really good idea.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @3 Sorry, I am busy prepping to take over the Chicago market for when they follow NYC’s lunacy.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @3 Sorry, I am busy prepping to take over the Chicago market for when they follow NYC’s lunacy.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    This is activism run amok.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    This is activism run amok.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sorry, been busy lately.

    Cincinnatus said (@10):

    Regulating the sale and consumption of alcohol is an essential aspect of public safety, mostly because of drunk driving. I don’t know a single person who opposes regulations–strong regulations–that prohibit impaired driving.

    But, of course, the regulation of the sale and consumption of alcohol goes well beyond impacting drunk driving. For instance, many areas have laws governing where I can buy my alcohol. In Oregon, I can buy beer and wine at a grocery store, but not liquor. Does that make our roads safer? Do “last call” laws make our roads safer?

    And what about all the people who are impacted by these laws (ostensibly motivated by drunk driving) who aren’t driving? If I show my monthly bus pass to the bartender, can I have another beer?

    Just thought that was an interesting claim to investigate. I suppose this also means you support laws banning any sort of phone usage while driving.

    As to the rest of your comment, I agree.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sorry, been busy lately.

    Cincinnatus said (@10):

    Regulating the sale and consumption of alcohol is an essential aspect of public safety, mostly because of drunk driving. I don’t know a single person who opposes regulations–strong regulations–that prohibit impaired driving.

    But, of course, the regulation of the sale and consumption of alcohol goes well beyond impacting drunk driving. For instance, many areas have laws governing where I can buy my alcohol. In Oregon, I can buy beer and wine at a grocery store, but not liquor. Does that make our roads safer? Do “last call” laws make our roads safer?

    And what about all the people who are impacted by these laws (ostensibly motivated by drunk driving) who aren’t driving? If I show my monthly bus pass to the bartender, can I have another beer?

    Just thought that was an interesting claim to investigate. I suppose this also means you support laws banning any sort of phone usage while driving.

    As to the rest of your comment, I agree.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@12), sure, but it’s kind of funny to see you suddenly draw the line at zoning regulations, which, for some reason, get your approval. After all, I could easily see that zoning laws also “do not substantially improve public safety and function to increase governmental favoritism and abuse”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@12), sure, but it’s kind of funny to see you suddenly draw the line at zoning regulations, which, for some reason, get your approval. After all, I could easily see that zoning laws also “do not substantially improve public safety and function to increase governmental favoritism and abuse”.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@17: Fair enough. For the record, I should clarify–I’m generally opposed to regulations of alcoholic beverages (consumption, production, whatever) that don’t have any discernible relation to public safety. That includes state cartels monopolizing the sale of alcohol (e.g., in Virginia and Pennsylvania), ludicrous regulations regarding what venues can sell alcohol (New York, Oregon, etc.) and when they can sell it (Wisconsin–and basically everywhere else). Such regulations are hangovers from Prohibition. Most were instituted as compromises with lingering elements of the Temperance Movement (the early twentieth century’s Moral Majority, except worse), and most such regulatory regimes are riddled with graft and corruption. I’ll have none of it. To be somewhat fair, though, some regulations–e.g., “last call” ordinances–are designed to keep drunks from wandering the streets and urinating on everything. While I’m not necessarily endorsing such regulations, at least they have some perceivable connection with an issue of common concern.

    All of which adds nothing to the case for regulating the sale of soda pop.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@17: Fair enough. For the record, I should clarify–I’m generally opposed to regulations of alcoholic beverages (consumption, production, whatever) that don’t have any discernible relation to public safety. That includes state cartels monopolizing the sale of alcohol (e.g., in Virginia and Pennsylvania), ludicrous regulations regarding what venues can sell alcohol (New York, Oregon, etc.) and when they can sell it (Wisconsin–and basically everywhere else). Such regulations are hangovers from Prohibition. Most were instituted as compromises with lingering elements of the Temperance Movement (the early twentieth century’s Moral Majority, except worse), and most such regulatory regimes are riddled with graft and corruption. I’ll have none of it. To be somewhat fair, though, some regulations–e.g., “last call” ordinances–are designed to keep drunks from wandering the streets and urinating on everything. While I’m not necessarily endorsing such regulations, at least they have some perceivable connection with an issue of common concern.

    All of which adds nothing to the case for regulating the sale of soda pop.

  • DonS

    Well, now, tODD @ 18, are you really that puzzled, that you can’t even imagine “some reason” why I would be in favor of reasonable zoning regulations? Would you like a bar to open up next door to your home? Don’t you think it is reasonable, and assists in maintaining public safety, as well as the right for people to have quiet enjoyment of their residential property, to segregate bars from homes? Also, there would certainly be a public safety risk to having bar patrons driving by and parking next to your residence, don’t you think?

    Now, as with most other kinds of government regulation, less is more. Most cities substantially overregulate in zoning, as with everything else they touch, to the point where they are directing specific uses for particular properties, favoring uses that enhance tax revenues, regardless of whether those uses are best for the citizens, and offering tax goodies and other subsidies and incentives (yes, welfare, of a sort) to businesses to encourage them to locate within their borders. They shouldn’t be doing any of this, with rare exceptions for the preservation of certain indisputably historically important properties and the like. Zoning should be simple, leaving as much latitude as possible to the property owner within particular classifications (commercial, residential, etc.).

    Under no circumstances should some government nanny be telling anyone how or whether they should sell soda. Sheesh.

  • DonS

    Well, now, tODD @ 18, are you really that puzzled, that you can’t even imagine “some reason” why I would be in favor of reasonable zoning regulations? Would you like a bar to open up next door to your home? Don’t you think it is reasonable, and assists in maintaining public safety, as well as the right for people to have quiet enjoyment of their residential property, to segregate bars from homes? Also, there would certainly be a public safety risk to having bar patrons driving by and parking next to your residence, don’t you think?

    Now, as with most other kinds of government regulation, less is more. Most cities substantially overregulate in zoning, as with everything else they touch, to the point where they are directing specific uses for particular properties, favoring uses that enhance tax revenues, regardless of whether those uses are best for the citizens, and offering tax goodies and other subsidies and incentives (yes, welfare, of a sort) to businesses to encourage them to locate within their borders. They shouldn’t be doing any of this, with rare exceptions for the preservation of certain indisputably historically important properties and the like. Zoning should be simple, leaving as much latitude as possible to the property owner within particular classifications (commercial, residential, etc.).

    Under no circumstances should some government nanny be telling anyone how or whether they should sell soda. Sheesh.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@19) said:

    “last call” ordinances … are designed to keep drunks from wandering the streets and urinating on everything.

    Do you really believe that? I mean, “designed to”, maybe. But seems to me that all they really do is set the time at which drunk people will be kicked out of bars to wander the streets, urinating on everything.

    And I thought we’d moved beyond the soda laws at this point. No one’s actually endorsing Bloomberg’s idea at this point, are they?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@19) said:

    “last call” ordinances … are designed to keep drunks from wandering the streets and urinating on everything.

    Do you really believe that? I mean, “designed to”, maybe. But seems to me that all they really do is set the time at which drunk people will be kicked out of bars to wander the streets, urinating on everything.

    And I thought we’d moved beyond the soda laws at this point. No one’s actually endorsing Bloomberg’s idea at this point, are they?

  • Joe

    Since tODD asked “Is anyone here equally outraged at the status quo of alcohol regulation?” I’ll respond. “Right here”.

    I am against the regulation of alcohol with two exceptions: 1. having a set BAC over which it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle on a public road way and 2. having a set BAC over which it is illegal to possess a firearm in public.

    Last calls, regulations on where you can buy, regulation on the act of consuming it while actually driving (except it you exceed the limit), age limits, etc. should go.

  • Joe

    Since tODD asked “Is anyone here equally outraged at the status quo of alcohol regulation?” I’ll respond. “Right here”.

    I am against the regulation of alcohol with two exceptions: 1. having a set BAC over which it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle on a public road way and 2. having a set BAC over which it is illegal to possess a firearm in public.

    Last calls, regulations on where you can buy, regulation on the act of consuming it while actually driving (except it you exceed the limit), age limits, etc. should go.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don, Don, Don!

    Are you really that puzzled, that you can’t even imagine “some reason” why I would be in favor of reasonable zoning regulations?

    Oh, I can imagine reasons, Don, but, no offense, they don’t have much to do with your ostensible political beliefs.

    Would you like a bar to open up next door to your home?

    Literally next door? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on what other nanny-state laws also stay in effect. For instance, are noise laws still in place?

    Would I like there to be bars closer to my house? Sure. Especially if they’re good bars that serve good alcohol and aren’t full of obnoxious drunks. I have one of those (a good bar; okay, brewpub, really) eight blocks away from my house, but some days I’m lazy. Why not four blocks away?

    Don’t you think it is reasonable, and assists in maintaining public safety… Also, there would certainly be a public safety risk to having bar patrons driving by and parking next to your residence, don’t you think?

    Sorry, I think you have that backwards. Zoning laws that put bars far away from the places where people live actually encourage drunk driving. Contrast that with the British concept of the local pub, which one could walk to (and stumble home from). Much safer. See? Zoning laws: yet another example of the government trying to help, but actually making things worse.

    …as well as the right for people to have quiet enjoyment of their residential property…

    Yuck. I would think any conservative would have to wash his mouth out with soap after making up “rights” like that, especially in light of claiming that the government has its own right to protect such “rights”. Bleah.

    Not terribly consistent of you, I’m afraid. Seems you like the nanny state, when it keeps your neighborhood nice and quiet.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don, Don, Don!

    Are you really that puzzled, that you can’t even imagine “some reason” why I would be in favor of reasonable zoning regulations?

    Oh, I can imagine reasons, Don, but, no offense, they don’t have much to do with your ostensible political beliefs.

    Would you like a bar to open up next door to your home?

    Literally next door? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on what other nanny-state laws also stay in effect. For instance, are noise laws still in place?

    Would I like there to be bars closer to my house? Sure. Especially if they’re good bars that serve good alcohol and aren’t full of obnoxious drunks. I have one of those (a good bar; okay, brewpub, really) eight blocks away from my house, but some days I’m lazy. Why not four blocks away?

    Don’t you think it is reasonable, and assists in maintaining public safety… Also, there would certainly be a public safety risk to having bar patrons driving by and parking next to your residence, don’t you think?

    Sorry, I think you have that backwards. Zoning laws that put bars far away from the places where people live actually encourage drunk driving. Contrast that with the British concept of the local pub, which one could walk to (and stumble home from). Much safer. See? Zoning laws: yet another example of the government trying to help, but actually making things worse.

    …as well as the right for people to have quiet enjoyment of their residential property…

    Yuck. I would think any conservative would have to wash his mouth out with soap after making up “rights” like that, especially in light of claiming that the government has its own right to protect such “rights”. Bleah.

    Not terribly consistent of you, I’m afraid. Seems you like the nanny state, when it keeps your neighborhood nice and quiet.

  • Joe

    Property rights certainly include the right to quite enjoyment. But that does not give the gov’t the right to create zoning schemes to enforce someone’s private rights. That is what the civil courts are for. The traditional (i.e. before the invention of the modern zoning system) way of enforcing your property rights (including the right to quite enjoyment) was via a trespass or nuisance action. This is the way a civilized society handles disputes — it forces the individuals involved to make a decision as to whether the issue is worth pressing and then it requires you to prove to 12 honest men and women that you have been injured. We should not enact a statutory scheme that picks winners and losers ahead of time or places certain categories of property owners at an advantage or disadvantage under the law.

  • Joe

    Property rights certainly include the right to quite enjoyment. But that does not give the gov’t the right to create zoning schemes to enforce someone’s private rights. That is what the civil courts are for. The traditional (i.e. before the invention of the modern zoning system) way of enforcing your property rights (including the right to quite enjoyment) was via a trespass or nuisance action. This is the way a civilized society handles disputes — it forces the individuals involved to make a decision as to whether the issue is worth pressing and then it requires you to prove to 12 honest men and women that you have been injured. We should not enact a statutory scheme that picks winners and losers ahead of time or places certain categories of property owners at an advantage or disadvantage under the law.

  • DonS

    tODD, Joe beat me to it @ 24, but quiet enjoyment is an old English common law right. As Joe says, it was historically enforced by the individual, through the courts, rather than through a governmentally-imposed regulatory scheme, and that’s still the way it should be enforced generally. I part from Joe in that I do believe a very basic zoning scheme is important to reducing potential conflict in crowded areas by separating incompatible uses, like bars in residential areas, that would naturally give rise to so many complaints under the nuisance laws as to overwhelm the courts, and to also protect public safety. But I take your point — it would be nice to walk from the bar to your home. These zones need not be great distances apart. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to walk four blocks to a neighborhood bar. It just shouldn’t typically be right next door, except in mixed-use areas as are common in large cities.

    “Ostensible political beliefs”? Really, tODD? I’m not an anarchist. I just don’t like a huge government that’s all about power and picking winners and losers, claiming all the while to care about the “99%”.

  • DonS

    tODD, Joe beat me to it @ 24, but quiet enjoyment is an old English common law right. As Joe says, it was historically enforced by the individual, through the courts, rather than through a governmentally-imposed regulatory scheme, and that’s still the way it should be enforced generally. I part from Joe in that I do believe a very basic zoning scheme is important to reducing potential conflict in crowded areas by separating incompatible uses, like bars in residential areas, that would naturally give rise to so many complaints under the nuisance laws as to overwhelm the courts, and to also protect public safety. But I take your point — it would be nice to walk from the bar to your home. These zones need not be great distances apart. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to walk four blocks to a neighborhood bar. It just shouldn’t typically be right next door, except in mixed-use areas as are common in large cities.

    “Ostensible political beliefs”? Really, tODD? I’m not an anarchist. I just don’t like a huge government that’s all about power and picking winners and losers, claiming all the while to care about the “99%”.


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